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Vacuum Membrane Distillation for Desalination of Ground Water by using Flat Sheet Membrane

Authors: Bhausaheb L. Pangarkar, M.G. Sane, Saroj B. Parjane, Mahendra Guddad


The possibility of producing drinking water from brackish ground water using Vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) process was studied. It is a rising technology for seawater or brine desalination process. The process simply consists of a flat sheet hydrophobic micro porous PTFE membrane and diaphragm vacuum pump without a condenser for the water recovery or trap. In this work, VMD performance was investigated for aqueous NaCl solution and natural ground water. The influence of operational parameters such as feed flow rate (30 to 55 l/h), feed temperature (313 to 333 K), feed salt concentration (5000 to 7000 mg/l) and permeate pressure (1.5 to 6 kPa) on the membrane distillation (MD) permeation flux have been investigated. The maximum flux reached to 28.34 kg/m2 h at feed temperature, 333 K; vacuum pressure, 1.5 kPa; feed flow rate, 55 l/h and feed salt concentration, 7000 mg/l. The negligible effects in the reduction of permeate flux found over 150 h experimental run for salt water. But for the natural ground water application over 75 h, scale deposits observed on the membrane surface and 29% reduction in the permeate flux over 75 h. This reduction can be eliminated by acidification of feed water. Hence, promote the research attention in apply of VMD for the ground water purification over today-s conventional RO operation.

Keywords: VMD, hydrophobic PTFE flat membrane, desalination, ground water

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